Forgive me for my ignorant arrogance. Open my mind today just a tad more. Please reveal to me more of who you are. My place is at your feet. My place is in your service. My place is at your command. I am yours. Forgive me for always trying to crawl and sneak my way up to sit on your thrown. Forgive me for trying to pick up your sword. Forgive me for my flesh that wants so badly to be in charge all the time. Forgive my lack of understanding. Forgive my lack of diligence in the things that matter. Forgive my weak flesh that so fully desires to control everything about me. Take my life in full. Don’t let me nit pick pieces of it back. I can feel myself amassing tiny particles of myself that is starting to become a substantial pile of self rubble. It is a mess really but my flesh loves to covet these little piles of selfish trash. Clean it up, take it away from me. My spirit wants no part of it. Detoxify my soul. Please Lord, forgive my incessant picking. The crack starts out small and I want it patched right away. Holy Spirit I don’t want to grieve you. I am sorry for that. I am so sorry for my pride. I am so sorry for how weak I am at times. Help me to be strong and diligent. I want to win the race, not hobble over the finish line.
When I think about Your omnipotence it gives me great relief. But then I think about your great omnipotence in light of my own ignorant arrogance. Why are you so patient with me? Why are you not consuming me with fire like in Moses’ time? Unlike the people of that day, I do have the Spirit in me yet I am still so rotten at times if not always in your sight. How do I overcome this? Your blood has covered me but my soul is in constant battle with my flesh. Help me overcome my flesh! With you, everything is possible. With you there is nothing too hard. With you I can take my rest even for just a little while, while I wait in earnest for my eternal rest. Because you are omnipotent I find rest. You are rest. You take away my burdens because I know your plan is perfect. I know you are fully in control and there is nothing I can do to mess that up. The power you have is so great. Greater than we can even know or put a meter to. Your power is fully outside the definition of what power means to us. Our understanding is a shadow of what it is. Our understanding is continually bastardized and hijacked by our feeble minds. Help me to understand you just a little more today. Help me to lean more fully on your omnipotence. Help me to give up my ignorant arrogance and trust more completely in you today. You are my everything. You are my whole. You are my power.
I must remember that you have granted me success. For certain, you have granted me future success when I am in your presence, but even now you have granted to me all things, not just some things, that pertain to life and godliness. You have given me that through your power. In you, it is for your glory. In you, I am for your glory. In you, is everything. Reveal to me the things I am lacking. There is so much! Reveal to me the things that I am forgetting. There is so much! Reveal to me the things of your plan. Wow, there is so much! Do I even have the right to know? OF COURSE NOT! But there it is. Your Word. With the brain in me that you are working and the Spirit you have placed in me, there it is. Your perfect plan! Over and over again I say thank you. Like a broken record that I don’t care is broken, thank you. I am broken, I am but dust, and I am yours. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you…. on and on and on for eternity. The beautiful broken record that is my soul.
Purpose. We all desire it. We somehow need it. We often times loose it. My husband has often accused me of trying to save the world at the expense of my own family. He is right in some regard but where he finds a weakness I find one of my biggest strengths. I am driven. Almost too much so. When I have a purpose there is really nothing anyone can do to stop me. It is when my purpose gets suddenly halted that I feel like I have failed. But I pray. I pray and pray and pray. I ask for clarity. I ask for understanding. I ask for wisdom. Asking for wisdom is a funny thing. It is not what you would expect. Wisdom is understanding God’s will. Not understanding our issues or circumstances. By simply resting in His sovereignty allows a great burden to be taken from my shoulders whenever I get “stopped in my tracks.” In reality, yes I am driven, but fully and wholly by God. Not on my own steam but on His. And guess what? His path, his direction, his tracks are WAY better than mine. What a blessing to know and be known by the Almighty God and Creator of the Universe!
People are generally cowards. We don’t like confrontation. We don’t like heated conversations. While we may have a conviction or two about something, if we think our livelihood or perhaps even our life could be at stake, we skirt around issues. The men who came to arrest Jesus in Matthew 26:55 were cowards. Jesus even called them out on it. Every day he was out in the open but because of their cowardice and fear of what the people would do, they waited until the middle of the night to arrest him. I look back on my life when I identified with Christianity but was not actually saved. I thought I was saved but was a coward. I would go to church and discuss Christ with people who were safe. I kept my “religion” to myself at work and in mixed social circles. I was a politically correct “Christian.” I believed what I believed and I let others believe what they believed and kept quiet about it. I was a coward. I didn’t want to loose business. I was a coward. I didn’t want people to think I was a Jesus freak. I was a coward. I didn’t want to loose friends. I was a coward. Jesus turned all that around on May 20th 2013 when he knocked some sense into me. He revealed himself to me and it was then that I truly understood that just because I identified with Christ did not mean I was one of His. I was truly a coward. Then, all of the sudden, I was not anymore. Jesus showed me my sin. He showed me how much I loved this world. He showed me how arrogant and ignorant I had been. He showed me that I loved myself above all, the worst form of idolatry. It was then that I raised the white flag and repented of my sin and placed my full trust and faith in Jesus. I became bold. It didn’t matter. All those things I held so dear, just didn’t matter. All that mattered was Jesus and what he wanted me to do. Looking back on the past 2 years I have seen some of the hardest trials I have ever had to go through. Yes, I lost friends, good ones. Yes, I lost business, A LOT of business. Yes, I have gotten into a lot of heated discussions and have been slandered, and people have flat out lied about me. But guess what!? PRAISE GOD! Praise Jesus, that I have been counted worthy to undergo and withstand even the slightest mildest form of persecution. What a joy to be bold. What a joy to know Jesus. WHAT A JOY TO BE A PROUD JESUS FREAK!
The 10 Commandments are the foundation of God’s Law. We can rattle off about 4 or maybe 5 that we know by heart like, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, but beyond those your mind may get a little fuzzy. Do you know the first one? Many people say it is “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” This is what Jesus said was the most important commandment of all so it makes sense we would think that is the first commandment, however, the first commandment is that you would have no other gods before God himself. At first look they seem different, but in fact, they are the same. Let’s take a look at those verses in the Bible.
Exodus 20:3 is the actual first Commandment and it reads, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 reads, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” The first part of that passage, “The LORD our God, the LORD is one” is the essence of the first Commandment. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 when he answers the scribes question in Mark 12:28-30. It reads, “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” If you love the One True God in this way, there is no room for any other gods.
How do these verses apply to us today? We are a God-fearing Nation, are we not? We think to ourselves, “Of course I don’t put any gods before God.” I thought that God was my only god when in fact I was simply deceived into thinking that was true. To paraphrase my pastor, he says that Satan’s best work is not through people who devil worship or those we think of as satanic, but that his best work is done through people who have a Bible in their hands. Think about who Satan is. If you had 6,000 years to perfect the art of anything, you’d probably be a master at your craft. Satan’s craft is deception and you better believe he is a master at his craft. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
I’ve heard people say they don’t like to think about Satan and they don’t want to give him any credit. I fear that is a fatal flaw in their thinking. We are told to be watchful and sober-minded. We need to be aware of our enemy so we are not deceived. If you know what your opponent’s game plan is you will have a greater ability to defend yourself. How, then, do you know if you are being deceived? How would this apply to “bearing good fruit in keeping with salvation”? When you consider your opponent in any situation you always try to think “what would be the best way they could win?” and then you would use that against them. Usually we think of the most obvious game plans, but often it is the most insidious.
Satan may consider, “How can I get droves and droves of people to believe they are saved, give them a false sense of security, and then send them all straight to Hell?” I think his best platform is taking the 10 Commandments and getting people to generally think they are “good people” and that they love “God.” He would take the definition of God and he would lower people’s view of God himself through a faulty definition. He would slowly but surely take the human-valued perceived understanding of holiness away from God. He would take our basic human nature, our selfish nature, our sin nature, and feed it with pride. He would take the God of our youth and subtly, systematically, and systemically take God off of the alter on our heart and allow us with all grandeur to firmly replace Him with ourselves.
It is not about other “gods” like tiki gods or worshiping little statues. For people who identify with Christ, those who call themselves Christian, it is about getting them to worship themselves. We worship ourselves by doing things on our own. We worship ourselves by thinking our accomplishments are our own. We worship ourselves by pridefully thinking we are somehow entitled to life and everything in it. Our selfish prideful entitlement is our god. How do you then use this as a litmus test for our salvation? How can you tell if you are not obeying the first Commandment to have no other gods before God alone? Simply look at your life. Jesus gives us some obvious clues when he said we need to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
What does your life look like? How much do you love God? Do you love Him with ALL your heart, or just on Sunday from 9-10am? Do you love Him with ALL your soul, or only when you are hurting and crying out in prayer for his deliverance? Do you love Him with ALL your mind, or only for the few minutes a day you devote to reading the Bible, if you even do that every day? Do you love Him with ALL your strength, or just when it is convenient for you. I know this is a high bar but it is what it means to be a true follower of Christ. “It is unattainable” the Great Deceiver tells us. Satan has watered down over the decades the idea, reality, truth, and fact that loving God in that way and with that intensity is what is needed in order to be called a true Christian. The first Commandment is something to be highly considered when you work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
When you read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, read it from the perspective of a “talent” as a “soul” that has been given the understanding and potential for salvation. Don’t read it as physical, mental, or spiritual attributes or gifts you have been given or actual money. Read talents as “souls.” I used to take the master’s statement at the end as super harsh, but when you read it in light of our duty as Christians and if we “hide” what Christ has revealed to us rather than share His gospel, of course that will be God’s response to us! Look back up to the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Verse 11 is very similar to Matthew 7:21-23, the most frightening passage in all of Scripture. This is all talking about souls and our job here on Earth. Be ready. Be prepared. Do what Christ has asked of you. Don’t be slothful. Don’t listen to others. Listen to Jesus and Jesus alone!